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The Club 

Wednesday, Feb 17 2016
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Pablo Larraín's The Club is a bruising anticlerical piece that Luis Buñuel, Alejandro Jodorowsky, or anyone with a conscience would approve of. The club in question is a house on the Chilean coast in which the Catholic Church has sent a handful of disgraced former priests to live in isolation and penance. (Masturbation and self-flagellation are forbidden.) It's the rug under which the Church has swept their problems, and when the arrival of a new member ends in tragedy, the Vatican sends Father García (Marcelo Alonso) to investigate whether the club is doing its job and justice is truly being served. Meanwhile, a former altar boy named Sandokan (Roberto Farías) haunts the house from outside, shouting in graphic detail exactly what was done to him. Although none of the rape is shown, it cannot be overstated just how disturbing Sandokan's descriptions of the abuse he suffered at the hands and other extremities of a pedophile priest are. It's very harsh to listen to, and impossible not to visualize, which is of course the point. Larraín gives the film a hazy, somewhat overexposed look, and makes generous use of bothPassion of Joan of Arc-style close-ups and Arvo Pärt's Fratres, which provides the sole comfort in a film in which solace is a myth.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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